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Thursday, November 30, 2006

President Abbas: Ceasefire Paves Way to Return to Peace Process

President Abbas: Ceasefire Paves Way to Return to Peace Process

[WAFA is the official PLO News Agency]
JERICHO, November 30, 2006 (WAFA) - President Mahmoud
Abass said that keeping the ceasefire will pave the way to return to the
peace process in the Middle East.

"I hope that the Ceasefire will include the West Bank so as to go back to
the Sharm el-Sheikh understandings signed by the Palestinian Leadership with
the former Israeli Prime Minister Areil Sharon towards returning to the
peace process," he told a joint press conference in Jericho with the US the
Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice.

He said that talks over a national unity government have hit a dead-end
regretfully. "Forming a unity government, which is a basic goal to our
people, has reached a dead-end."

He stressed if the unity government was formed, it would have lifted the
siege imposed on the Palestinian people, affirming that he left no stone
unturned and worked on all levels to form it, but all efforts reached a
dead-end, which means suffering of the Palestinian people would continue.

For her part, Rice affirmed that her visit to the Palestinian territory is
to show commitment of the two-state solution.

"The reason why I come today was to have an opportunity to talk with you
about how we can intensify our efforts to support our commitment toward a
progress on a two-state solution," Rice told the press conference.

She said that everybody recognises that the creation of a viable,
independent and democratic Palestinian state that lives side by side in
peace with Israel would be not just a remarkable achievement, but a just
achievement for the Palestinian people.

Rice added that she wanted to come and continue what has been ongoing on
dialogue with President Abbas about "how we accelerate our efforts."

In that regard, she said, "I agree completely that the speech of [Israeli]
PM [Ehud] Olmert was a very positive development, I think [it is] an effort
to reach out to a Palestinian partner."

"I'm going now to Jerusalem. I will speak with PM Olmert about the positive
elements in that speech and hopefully we can take this moment to accelerate
our efforts for the intensified efforts towards a two-state solution that we
all desire," she said.

She also said that she is here to talk about a number of other issues
including how to improve conditions of the Palestinian people. "We are all
concerned about the humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people,
particularly in Gaza."

A.D (14:08 P) (12:08 GMT)

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